As school year winds to close, parents prepare for graduation party time

Planning for leftovers is key in celebrating lifes first great feat

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Larita Myers looks over one of the graduation cakes about to be sent off from Larita's Cakes 'n More for the upcoming graduation weekends.

A graduation party is a time for high school graduates to commemorate and reminisce on the last four years with their friends, celebrate all their achievements, and see some classmates one last time before starting their new journey in life.

From invitations to decorations to what kind of food will be served, a lot of planning and preparation goes into a graduation party and it can become quite stressful and overwhelming.

There are always going to be a half dozen other graduation parties to attend in May, and often times many people complain about how much leftover food they have. When planning try to think about how many other parties will be held on the same day and how many relatives are coming to help celebrate.

“If there is more than one party, than less food is needed,” said Dan Garst, owner of Party Productions in Fort Dodge. “Not everyone will eat everything at every party, they are mainly there to congratulate and celebrate the high school graduate. Don’t worry about running out of food because that is less to put in the fridge at the end of the night.”

The most popular catering items include a taco bar, baked potato bar, cold meat sandwich bar, and a candy bar. This kind of food can be easily saved and refrigerated if there are a lot of leftovers.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Creative cookies are a staple of graduation parties, like these from Larita's Cakes & More

“Having a buffet style bar at a graduation party allows guests to decorate their food however they may choose, and since most graduation parties are come and go, it makes it easier for them.” Garst said.

As for desserts, most people have been choosing the diploma and 2017 shaped cookies.

“Having cupcakes or cookies is the easier way to go when it comes to the dessert of the party,” Larita Myers, owner of Laritas Cakes ‘N More in Fort Dodge said. “Having cake means someone will constantly have to be there slicing and serving the cake to guests. This way makes it so they are ready to go on a tray and easier to serve to guests.”

Larita’s Cakes ‘N More has cupcakes, cookies, cake, bars, and mints that can be ordered for graduation in different shapes, designs, and colors. Designs include an open book with a picture of the graduate, which is usually used for centerpieces, name of the school and graduation cap.

“The number of desserts you buy really depends on the size of the party and what is in your budget, and you need to keep in mind that people are coming from party to party, not just yours,” Myers said. “They might just have a drink or dessert at one party and the meal at another one. Don’t be offended if everyone isn’t eating at the party, there are a lot to attend during this time of year.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Ashley Garst explains the rainbow of choices available of disposable dishes and cups for graduation parties. Although school colors are always popular, some students like to choose their own palatte.

Rentals are offered for parties and you can get anything from tables, chairs, roasters, chillers/coolers, tents, centerpieces, and even theme inspired items such as hot dog rollers, popcorn machines, snow cone machines, and a cotton candy machine.

“Cut it back and keep everything reasonable,” Garst said. ”Don’t get overly crazy about small things, and I promise it will be alright if you run out of food or drinks, Guests will be happy with whatever you have because they are there to celebrate all the achievements of the graduate from the past four years.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter According to Ashley Garst, people aren't just seeking decorations for the partyÑthey also need signs to show that the party is here.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter At Party Productions, Ashley Garst shows how decorations for graduations, balloons and banners and paper lanterns, are available in all sorts of school colors, especially green and white and red and black.